DEQ doesn’t recommend carbon filters, says Chemours jumped the gun

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

RALEIGH — THE N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is calling Chemours’ decision to offer granulated carbon filters to neighbors of the Fayetteville Works plant “premature” and GAC units themselves “not … a long-term solution to the GenX problems …”

On Tuesday, Michael Scott, Director of Waste Management at DEQ, wrote the following letter to residents who were targeted by Chemours to receive certified letters earlier this week offering them free whole-home carbon filtration systems. The letter follows in its entirety.

Today I received a phone call from Chemours regarding letters the company mailed to residents like some of you whose drinking water wells tested above the state’s provisional health goal for GenX. It is my understanding those letters offered a quick fix to your water pollution through granular activated carbon filtration system installation.

The Department of Environmental Quality was not consulted by Chemours prior to the distribution of the certified letter to residents, nor has DEQ staff seen the certified letter that was mailed to homeowners. The department did not approve or direct Chemours to offer granular activated carbon filtration systems to residents beyond those in the pilot filter study.

Our position is that deciding on potential solutions right now is premature without completing the pilot filter study. Because DEQ is still collecting preliminary data from the pilot filter study, which will continue through the month of July, we cannot recommend specific solutions yet. The data collected during the pilot filter study will show if the GAC systems are effective in removing GenX from groundwater plus what filter replacement and long-term system servicing needs are a part of the cost of the filter system. After DEQ staff receives and analyzes the pilot filter study data, we will hold a public information session in late August or early September to discuss its findings and answer your questions about the study.

Filtration systems are meant to help residents get off bottled water while awaiting a long-term final solution. The Department of Environmental Quality does not consider point-of-entry filtration units like GAC filters a long-term solution to the GenX problems in the Fayetteville area. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely, Michael E. Scott, Director

Scott’s letter was written in response to correspondence from the DuPont company. Earlier in the week, Chemours mailed certified letters to homeowners whose wells showed elevated levels of perflourinated compounds and, in it, expressed the company was “confident” in moving forward with preliminary results of pilot testing. The Fayetteville Works company further claims preliminary results “prove without a doubt” that GAC filtration systems remove GenX and similar compounds from drinking water.

Pilot testing is being conducted at six properties with well water above 140 ppt, sites selected by the Department of Environment Quality. An independent laboratory sampled biweekly at each property and analyzed the effectiveness of the GAC filters in removing perflourinated compounds.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

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Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal